WASHINGTON (RNS) — A small group of Catholic leaders, including three bishops and a nun, met with senior White House officials Friday morning (Nov. 17) to discuss climate change, framing the issue as a moral concern and citing inspiration from Pope Francis.Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe said the meeting was meant to present the message of Pope Francis’ “Laudate Deum,” a 12-page document published last month that served as a follow-up to his 2015 encyclical on the environment.
“We just wanted to magnify that, amplify it and support it with the leaders here in our country,” Wester told Religion News Service, noting that the idea for the meeting was hatched shortly after “Laudate Deum” was published.
Also in the room were Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson, Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima, Sister Carol Zinn, executive director the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Lonnie Ellis, who oversees the Catholic group In Solidarity.
Ellis, who helped orchestrate the gathering, said the group met for 45 minutes with John Podesta, President Joe Biden’s senior adviser for clean energy innovation and implementation, John McCarthy, senior adviser for political engagement and Ali Zaidi, the president’s National Climate adviser.
“We started talking about how Pope Francis has really opened this up as a moral issue,” Ellis said. “I think they received that really well.”
Weisenburger agreed, saying he and others stressed that the issue of climate change “is a matter of ethics, spirituality and our faith.”
The nation’s Catholic bishops gather for their a …